Whetu Douglas' return to the Crusaders was short-lived.

The loose forward was a standout in his six games with the Crusaders, but his season was cut short after signing a two-year deal with Italian club Treviso, who wanted him to arrive as soon as possible.

The Crusaders' attempts to delay his arrival initially seemed to have paid dividends, with Treviso - who were nearing the end of their season - allowing Douglas to temporarily continue his Crusaders career.

"He'll be back with us next week," said Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson earlier today.


"It's just short term but he'll be cover for us for the next few weeks and the boys are looking forward to having him back."

However, the ever-changing saga still had one final twist, when Crusaders management confirmed tonight that Douglas had decided not to rejoin the team due to family reasons.

"Unfortunately Whetu will not be joining the team next week as we had hoped for family reasons," said a Crusaders spokesperson.

"He has said it is with much regret that he has had to make the decision but he needs to do the right thing by his family. The Crusaders fully accept his decision and the reasons for it and only wish him the very best."

The Crusaders will utilise Pete Samu and Jordan Taufua as their loose forward options for their game against the Bulls on Sunday morning as they look to win their tenth straight game.

Matt Todd has been named as captain in the absence of Read and suspended captain Sam Whitelock.

Crusaders: David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Tim Bateman, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Pete Samu, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett.

Reserves: Andrew Makalio, Joe Moody, Michael Alaalatoa, Quinten Strange, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Bryn Hall, Mitchell Hunt, Ryan Crotty.